On again and off again injury has me thinking about running. I’ve taken 11 days of rest from running since completing the Brooklyn Half two Saturdays ago on May 20. That’s a lot of days for me! I’m just sorta, kinda happy that it was rainy last week and I haven’t missed out on good running weather.
During this time, I’ve found other ways to fit running in my life, including listening to Ali Feller’s podcast Ali On The Run. This rambling of mine is actually a response to her post of the same title. One of the most resonating podcasts I first listened to was Episode 10: The Worst Mistakes I’ve Made as a Runner because I could relate to a number of them. Here are the ones I’ve been through too:
1. Not taking enough rest days – (if any)
Hence the injuries I’ve had on and off since last year. Tendonitis jumping from one leg to the other because I don’t fully rest and recover before running again.
2. Losing brain cells on worrying about taking a day off from running, and feeling guilty when others were completing 10+ miles
My family can attest to this. There would be 10 minute conversations and convincing me that no running for a day was okay.
3. Running through pain – (and not the sore-after-a-good-workout kind)
See lesson #1
4. Obsessing over numbers – (and not truly enjoying running)
Running just to see the numbers on my Nike app increase and reaching the next goal level.
5. Running without getting stronger – (I have no upper body strength and super not flexible)
Stretching and foam rolling seemed to slow and time consuming. Yah – I’ll rethink that.
I wasn’t always a runner. In fact, like Ali, I didn’t grow up an athlete. I got clobbered in basketball, kicked in soccer, ran away from the ball in dodgeball, and stood in out-outfield in kickball. The only sport I did was swimming, but I wasn’t fast at all. I started running in high school as part of a class called Polar Bear. I don’t remember what possessed me to sign up for a class that required me to run outside in the dead of winter but I figured it was a sport I could do. We ran along the West Side Highway for 30-40 minutes.
I really enjoyed running, especially in the city. I love people watching; it’s always so interesting seeing what people are doing on the streets. Sometimes I create stories of where these people are going! The West Side Highway is a great running path – so many out and about, especially during the warmer months. In college, I started running almost everyday, usually starting my day at the gym or outside running. As my mileage increased, I started using my watch to track how far I went. Later when I got a data plan, I used the Nike app for tracking. While it’s an amazing app, I found myself focusing more on the numbers and not how I was feeling during my runs. I was still aware of my surroundings, and observed the places I ran, but I didn’t really truly enjoy it. There were days I felt so tired but still ran anyway. I guess I was what you could consider burnt out or overtrained.
Listening to Ali has inspired to revisit what running means to me because listening to someone talk out loud about the same issues I experience with running makes it so much more easier to accept. I was so focused on running for the numbers that I was forgetting what I loved about running. I was afraid that I would “forget” how to run if I didn’t run every day. For those of you who know me, I don’t have a very active social life. I only know 3 things: work, running, and food. Running is basically 1/3 of my life.
Taking 11 days off from running (and not trying to sneak in a run or light jog in between) has helped a lot. I’m finding new interests, and I don’t feel like I’ve lost my running. In fact, I’ve started to enjoy the stationary bike (somewhat). One of my goals this summer is to learn how to ride a bike really well (biking in a crowded city, or at least controlling it well enough to bike on the West Side Highway).
In honor of Global Running Day next week on June 7, I’ve decided to try a new running goal for this month: running naked as Ali says. I’m ditching my numbers and running based on how I feel. I’ll use the app to look back at my miles in the future but I won’t run based off of it. No more running 2:46 minutes more to make it a round 5.0 miles. In fact, there’ll probably be more photos and snaps and Insta-stories to record all my running miles. Ali Feller – you’re such an inspiration!